California Sexual Predator Sting Nets Firefighter Driving Engine

A wildland firefighter with the US Forest Service has been arrested as part of sexual predator sting operation in central California. Mark McGill Jr. was arrested when he arrived in a Forest Service engine to what he thought was a rendezvous with a teenage girl in Fresno County.

Law enforcement authorities from federal, state and local agencies used social media to look for predators seeking to have relations with underage boys and girls. The operation was called

“Operation Hands Off Our Kids,” or Operation HOOK. McGill, 38, was one of 19 men who were arrested. All were between the ages of 31 and 49.

The agencies involved in the sting included:

  • Central California Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force
  • Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • Fresno Police Department
  • Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC)
  • Fresno County Probation Adult Compliance Team (ACT)
  • Fresno County District Attorney’s Office
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California
  • California Department of Justice
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Paso Robles Police Department
  • Atascadero Police Department
  • Hanford Police Department
  • Kerman Police Department
  • Madera County Sheriff’s Office
  • Merced County District Attorney’s Office
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Photo: Fresno County Sheriff’s Office

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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